Tomorrow I am going to the doctor. What’s so unusual about that is that I am actually going
I am extremely disappointed (devastated might be a better word) that I am not free to attend the Australian Farm Institute’s launch of their research report tomorrow in Canberra
‘Opportunities to improve the effectiveness of Australian farmers advocacy groups – a comparative approach’
Are advocacy groups necessary? (the rationale for collective advocacy); Getting inspired: International and national case studies of advocacy groups; What do Australian farmers really think of agricultural advocacy groups?;
Workshop: Developing a preferred model for agricultural advocacy in Australia
So what’s all this got to do with going to the doctor? A lot actually
There has been a lot of talk about leadership (or lack of) in agriculture for as long as I can remember.
Whether leaders are born or made?
Is the advocacy model flawed?
Lots and lots of talk and I haven’t seen much change over the last 20 years. So when I was asked last year to be on the NSW Farmers Dairy Committee I was very reticent. I was reticent because I don’t necessarily believe leaders are born and I didn’t feel I had the required skills sets
I was eventually convinced that it wouldn’t involve any more time and that it might help fast track some of the initiatives that I was trying to achieve.
I also felt a bit guilty and that I had a responsibility to give it a go and maybe, just maybe with the right team around me (all those people who had the skill sets I didn’t) I could really help make a difference.
More time. You are joking. 24/7 just took on a whole new meaning.
Face to face meetings are twice a year. The first meeting is taken up with identifying the priorities of your industry, your committee members’ area of expertise and where each person can be most effective and then developing the action plan.
Then putting it all into action seriously becomes 365 days plus
This is because you find most of the priority issues have been around for a long time and if your committee is going to be the one to get action you have to do a lot of backgrounding to understand the politics, the barriers, the personalities (and trust me its normally the personalities) as to why your committee may just have what it takes to surmount what all the committees before you couldn’t
State level representation often means federal representation and that means you are dealing with people all over the country and Australia is a big place. So that of course means teleconferences. Endless teleconferences. Urgent teleconferences. Workshops, summits, industry briefings, industry breakfasts, briefing notes and yes cancelled doctor’s appointments.
So I have found in the majority of cases there are lot of well-meaning people who put their hands up to take on these roles who just like me are floundering around in the dark, frustrated they are putting in all this time getting no-where and putting the rest of their life on hold
Leaders may be born, so might doctors but they don’t give you a license to operate until you have knowledge and the skill sets and the mentors and the support networks in place so you can be the very best doctor you can be physically and emotionally
The world is complex, agriculture is complex and leadership requires many things and we have to do a lot more than talk about it
As always no matter how good the concept it’s the people who make it work
Lets not forget the world is run by those who turn up. How do we make sure the right people are in the room. The people with all the skills sets required to make an effective team
For me we don’t have near enough people talking about how we can best help and support our people who put their hands up.
I look forward to reading the Australian Farm Institute’s report. I look forward to talking to some of the people I know who are going
Mick Keogh and his team are definitely world class leaders in their space. Let’s hope we take on board the learnings and the insights and so we can get on with the doing